All hands on deck at MTI as Covid storm subsides

Superyacht crewing is once again a buoyant industry.

Mahurangi Technical Institute is poised to prepare students for a surge of demand for superyacht crew as the global industry recovers from the impacts of Covid-19.

Lecturer Stephen Crocket says the course, starting September 20, is the perfect moment to get on board.

International borders have begun to open as vaccinations rollout worldwide, and superyacht crew members who have successfully avoided Covid-19 by living at sea are now moving on, making room for new entrants.

The September course will finish in time for the Caribbean yachting season and provide enough time to get in front of recruiting agencies ahead of the European summer season.

Mahurangi Technical Institute is part of the Manukau Institute of Technology and is one of just two institutions offering a superyacht course nationwide.

The 12-week course covers a huge range of maritime and steward skills, from sea survival and hull repair, through to floristry and cocktail mixology.

For the “at sea” component of the course, students go out on the Hauraki Gulf on NZ Sailing Trust boats for five days, visiting Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel.

They learn to pilot a ship, put lines on winches and steer to a compass course. Perhaps most importantly, they also learn about living in confined quarters with crew.

Stephen says in the 10 years the course has been running in Warkworth, it has produced scores of crewmates who travel all over the world.

He has recently been contacted by a past student who was urgently flown to Mexico to crew an expedition vessel as well as a submarine.

He says the skills learned in the course are transferrable to other careers.

The same qualification for driving a superyacht tender could enable a student to pilot a small ferry in Europe.

The course makes use of the International Association of Maritime Industry’s GUEST programme, which teaches “seven star” service, including butler, valet and table service. The skills learned could then be a pathway to becoming maître d’ of a restaurant.

Others progress up the naval command structure and can gain a diploma in nautical science to become a cadet officer.

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